MORE than half a million adults have no money left at the end of the month after paying essential bills.
Just one-third of the population is able to save money every month, while almost two-thirds of motorists say they are struggling with spiralling fuel prices and increases in motor tax.
The bleak assessment of the state of the public's finances is contained in the latest 'What's Left' tracker compiled by the Irish League of Credit Unions.
It found that:
• 560,000 adults, or 16pc of all adults, have no disposable income left at the end of the month once their bills are paid.
• 1.5 million adults, or 45pc of all adults, have a maximum €150 left to spend each month.
• Half of all consumers struggle to pay all of their bills on time.
• 42pc of households have no intention of paying the €100 household charge.
The survey of 1,000 adults, carried out last month, will be repeated each quarter this year in order to track trends in household expenditure.
The most recent poll found that just one-third of adults were able to save every month, with 46pc saying they cannot afford to put any money by.
The average person is now saving €197 each month.
Almost two-thirds of respondents said they were struggling to keep their car on the road in the face of steep increases in the cost of fuel as well as rises in motor tax.
More than 60pc said they had cut down on the use of their car in order to save money, while other popular cost-cutting measures included switching car insurance provider and giving up breakdown cover.
Almost two-thirds said they had postponed servicing their car because they could not afford it.
Respondents ranked mortgage or rent, groceries and utilities as their most important bills to pay each month.
Television licence, bin charges and phone bills were among the most likely to be put on the long finger.
A quarter of those surveyed admitted feeling very worried and stressed when they fell behind in paying their bills.
Meanwhile, there was bad news for Environment Minister Phil Hogan as the survey found that 42pc of homeowners had no intention of paying the controversial household charge.
Almost one-third of homeowners said they could not afford to pay the charge, while almost one-in-10 said they would wait until they were threatened with action before they paid up.